butterbeer, butterscotch, cream, cream soda, easy, experiment, frozen, Harry Potter, Orlando, recipes, Universal Islands of Adventure
Since December, I have tried four different kinds of butterbeer: boozy, hot, frozen, and non-frozen. Two were at Alamo Drafthouse (the most awesome movie theater ever…truth) in San Antonio and the other two were at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure in Florida. (I blogged about the latter!) One of them came the closest to what J.K. Rowling conjured up in my imagination, and that was the hot version at the Drafthouse. However, the two kinds at Universal were supposedly sampled and approved by the author herself. Even though they weren’t what I had imagined, I really enjoyed them. (Friends and the surroundings definitely helped!)
I’ve been wanting to try to create my own interpretation of butterbeer for quite some time, but since that’s hot and it’s summer, I thought I’d attempt the frozen Universal creation for now. Besides, with Part 2 of Deathly Hallows coming out this weekend (eeeeeeee!), it’s the perfect time, right?
Alright, then. It was pretty clear to me what made up both the frozen and non-frozen versions: cream soda, heavy cream, and butterscotch. This sounded a little too easy to be true, but that’s just it: Universal is a big theme park that gets tons and tons of guests everyday. The Harry Potter section is definitely the most popular part of the Islands, and what’s likely to be the #1 item on most HP fan’s agenda upon visiting the park? Try the butterbeer! This was evident by the lines and number of butterbeers we saw.
If you’re a theme park, you’re going to want to have a super easy recipe that you can keep cranking out to keep up with this demand, and one that is also cheap so that you can make a big profit. This is why I knew simplicity was key and also why I nixed the idea of making butterscotch from scratch. I have a hard time imagining that they bother with that, but who knows. (I’m really not trying to sound cynical, just am using some good old logic!)
If you recall, the frozen butterbeer was in the same kind of machines that are often used to make and dispense frozen beverages like margaritas. My theory is that they just pour cream soda in there, which becomes slushy-like. (I became certain that it was cream soda upon trying the non-frozen version.) Next to this spigot was another that dispensed the foamy topping which to me tasted like loosely whipped butterscotch-flavored whipped cream. Very delicious and super simple.
Now then, how does one recreate this at home? Here is how I did it!
(my own take on Universal’s secret recipe!)
I looked on Universal’s website to try to figure out what brand of cream soda they use. Since they use Coca-Cola products, Barq’s would be my guess, but it looks like their cream soda is red unless they still make the regular kind? Either way, that’s just being unnecessarily nitpicky as this is all just a theory anyway. I used what I could find here in New York which was a brand I’d never heard of and it was fine!
UPDATE: If you want to booze this up a little bit (hey, a lot of us HP fans are 21+!), add some butterscotch schnapps to the cream soda. My roommates and I have tried this, and it’s deeelightful.
1 liter cream soda
1 cup heavy cream
butterscotch sauce to taste (I’m guessing I used ~1/3 cup)
Pour the soda into a large shallow dish (I used a 9×13 plastic container). Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and if the soda has started to freeze around the edges, break up and rake the frozen bits to the center with a fork. Put the container back in the freezer for another 30 minutes. Keep repeating this process (it’s just like making a granita!) until the soda is very slushy. You’ll want to be able to drink it through a straw. This took about 3 hours starting with room temperature soda, but could take less if your soda is chilled and if you have a colder freezer.
When the soda is almost ready, make the topping. Beat the heavy cream until it is lightened, but still loose. (Think beer foam instead of whipped cream.) Whisk in enough butterscotch to give the cream a definite butterscotch flavor. I’m staying at a dorm right now and didn’t bring measuring spoons with me, but am going to guess that I used about 1/3 cup. You can see here how much is missing from the 12.25 oz jar! But really, go by your own personal taste.
To serve, spoon or pour the slushy soda into clear cups or glasses. Spoon the foamy topping on top. You can drink it with or without a straw! (the latter will give you a nice ‘stache)
Another way to make this could be to freeze the cream soda in ice cube trays, then toss the cubes in a blender. (If you try this, let me know.) Of course, an even easier alternative would be to make the non-frozen version by (do I need to say this?) not freezing the soda.
See? Easy peasy and I think it tastes like what I remember! It does look a little different in the photos due to lighting and I think the difference of freezing methods. Unless prices have changed since January, they charge $4.25 a pop for the frozen butterbeer ($3.25 for non-frozen), that is, if you don’t get it in the souvenir mug. I spent less on the total ingredients which definitely make at least a few servings! See? If this really is all there is to it, they’re making a killing.
All of that said, I’d still buy it at HP World because when in Hogsmeade… :)
EDIT: Huffington Post just published an interesting article today about the butterbeer at Universal Orlando. It sounds like there is more to it than my interpretation, but it tastes pretty comparable to me!
Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide said:
I love it. We’re rewatching all the movies this week, can’t wait for Thursday!
Rachael Pollock said:
I tried this recipe and it tasted nothing like butterbeer 😡
What is cream soda, anyway? I know it tastes good (though I haven’t had any in ages), but the name always weirded me out a bit. Does it taste creamy?
I’ve never thought it tasted anything like dairy cream, it’s basically just vanilla flavored soda. I’m not entirely sure how it got the name.
Ice-cream is usually vanilla flavored. Ice-cream soda – cream soda. Thats how i’ve always thought of it anyways.
Mary at n00bcakes said:
Huh…so butterbeer is just cream soda with a butterscotch whipped topping? That’s almost disappointing….XD If I wanted to do a big-kid (IE, has alcohol in it) version, do you have any suggestions?
Also…I’ve been really wanting some mason jar glasses like yours. Suggestions on where to get some? :D
I’d say add a little bit of vodka, and walmart has them in packs of 20 for like $10.00
Use butterscotch schnapps
Vanilla Vodka would do the trick. :)
Looks pretty darn good!
Greg – Fun! I’d like to do that, but don’t know if anyone else here is as into it. So stoked for the new movie!
Jill – Hmm, it’s kind of like root beer, but not because I like it and not root beer…I guess it tastes vanilla-y. I dunno…try it again!
Mary – Well, that’s what their interpretation tastes like. I’ve seen so many recipes that include actual butter, which grosses me out. Rowling describes it as tasting a bit like butterscotch “but less sickly sweet”. To add alcohol, I would totally add butterscotch schnapps! Yummmmm. The base of the boozy version I tried was Woodchuck apple cider, btw.
Oh! And I totally bought the mason jars at Goodwill. Mason jar heaven!
Paula – Thanks!
emma schultz said:
Oh my gosh I am so excited for HP I don’t even know what to do for the rest of the week! I have been thinking about going dressed as Griphook… but that might be tough. Last movie I did my best Rita Skeeter imitation. We we we so excited.
I tried a friend’s homebrewed beer version of butterbeer last year. They made it with oodles of spice such as nutmeg and cloves, sort of like they explain here. It was pretty amazing stuff. Not very HP-esque though.
Lovin’ the Hannaford brand heavy cream!
Can’t say I ever got into Harry Potter, but this recipe sure is intriguing! Yum.
How dare you
Emma – Hooooray! I can’t say that I’ve ever dressed up for any of the HP movies, but could definitely weasel my way into the Weasley family. :) Wow, I’d love to try that butterbeer! (even though I know I did say actual butter grosses me out…) And yep, Hannaford is my most frequent destination.
Ashlea – Aww, one of my friends here isn’t really into HP and therefore wasn’t very excited about the idea of trying butterbeer. Glad you’re at least intrigued!
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Yummm!! this looks so good. I have whipped cream flavored vodka in my freezer that I would totally add to mine
I can’t wait for you to try the hot version (since it’s winter here in Melbourne!) but for now, with HP7 out, I’m definitely trying this one! Thanks so much for figuring it out for us!
Tip for foam: add a splash of vanilla if you want it to REALLY taste like Universal’s version!
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For the alcoholic version i would also try mixing Baileys/Irish Cream into the heavy cream :)
This sounds great! I’m going to add whipped vodka along with the butterschnaps for a more grown up grown up drink : )
Just came back from Universal Studio and was totally loving butterbeer! One of the best
drink in the world haha. I even bought it twice just because it is so good and I want to get the mug lol I started to look for recipe afterwrds and found yours. Gonna try it when I have time! Thank you so much!
I also just returned from Orlando and was sharing the Harry Potter goodness of the Butterbeer sensation. Lol. So I found your blog. Where/Which Alamo something in San Antonio serves the Butterbeer that you mentioned? I live in the country of Texas ;) and would like to make a designated trip (or send proxies…) out to take a taste :)
If you would please, respond to worryingLess@gmail.com. Thanks!
i think its the best thing I’ve ever tasted
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anne wienberg said:
according to the peeps at the butterbeer barrel – the soda part of the drink has no dairy. the only dairy in the topping? a trace amount of whey –
this according to the HP dispensers –
so i am thinking that the base drink is just cream soda – frozen or chilled. and the topping is … dare i say it? cool whip, which has been flavored with maple or butterscotch extract.
anne wienberg said:
p.s. – i asked because i wanted some – but i am allergic to dairy.
and NO they will not sell the drink without the topping.
Oh, how disappointing! And that’s very odd because I’ve heard other people say that it’s vegan, though the topping did seem very dairy-like. If I were to go about making a dairy-free version, I’d try this recipe in place of the whipped cream, or an easier option of course would be to use a store-bought vegan whipped topping. OR just drink cream soda with a little butterscotch mixed in. ;)
But they will put a straw in it before adding and they will put less on. Lactose intolerant and that’s how I was able to still enjoy it :)
Thanks for the recipe. I just came from Universal a couple of days ago and long for Butterbeer, This is simple and should do the trick.
Jason G said:
Jessica, my Wife and I just came back from a trip to Disney and Universal(23 wedding anniversary). I am pretty keen on breaking down recipes and will give this a try. My first tasting of “frozen ButterBeer” told me it was Cream Soda with a small hint of ButterScotch. The foam was whipped cream with butterscotch again. We have a Marrgaritaville margarita machine and I am dying to try the frozen recipe. I will post next week to say if I got it right, of back to the drawing board.
This is a really good recipe the only change I made to it was I added vanilla ice cream and blended the ice cream and cream soda together….its soo good the perfect cold summer treat. My favorite part is the topping.
I’m on my second glass of this. It’s so freaking good! It’s like a butterscotch cream soda. Since I’m in love with butterscotch, this is right up my alley.
We were in Orlando end of May – went for 3 “doses” of butterbeer! Buying ingredients today! Thanks for the recipe!
I made it my cuisinart ice cream maker with butterscotch schnapps added to the cream soda. By the time you finish with the whipped topping, the cream soda is slushy. Made three btaches without re-freezing the barrel!
Taiesha Morgan said:
We just came back from to North Carolina from Univeral 2 minutes ago & I searched for this recipe immediatly ! Thankyou so much! Going to get the ingredients right now !
Sounds simple and looks delicious! But I’ve got to mention that Universal doesn’t use any dairy in theirs, for those who are lactose intolerant. But I’m sure you’ve read that already. :)
I’m gonna make this for the family!
Thank you for this my family just left Universal and this taste the same if not better I did do some differences I mixed the the cream soda and butterscoth together in a icecream maker and it turned out faster and better than Universal
I made this today. I did tweek it though. Instead of waiting for it to freeze, I blended it with ice. It worked well. I also added a little suger to the cream soda mix. Only enough sweeten it a tad to match what I remember. I also put in a shot of the butterscotch to the mix. It worked well and the kids and I loved it! Thank you!
thanks soooo much for this i was kraving for some butterbeer after being in america 2 months ago so thanks for that
What if you don’t want to use a liter of cream soda? Can you post the recipe for just a mug’s worth please?
How much does the butterbeer cost with the souvenir mug?
I remember it being ridiculous…$11 is the number appearing in my head, but I’m not sure if that’s correct! Plus, it was a year and a half ago, so it could be even more expensive now.
It was never $11 dollars (only if you bought the souveniere mug) it is around 4-5 dollars now
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how many people would this serve??? need to knoooooooww
Ah I love this drink. I didn’t have any butterscotch so instead I used heavy cream, about 4 teaspoons of sugar, 2 squirts of honey and about a teaspoon of vanilla. Tastes just as good.
how do you make the hot version of butter beer
I didn’t make a hot version – that was at a movie theater that offered it. It basically tasted like hot apple cider topped with whipped cream and butterscotch syrup.
Amandaaaaa :)))) said:
Making this for a labor day party tonight. The cream soda is freezing now! :)
Reblogged this on hitmewithyourbestschott and commented:
I know that I have missed a few weeks and sort of stopped in the middle of my NYC trip (I swear I will get it done at some point soon), but I really wanted to share this since I have recently been thinking about my trip to Disney back in April.
This was pretty much my take on the recipe as well, only I thought it was cream soda, a hint of butterscotch, and vanilla ice cream. I never would have guessed about the heavy cream. I’ll have to try this recipe. Thanks!
this is awsome
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How much cream?
I was just at Universal a few days ago, strictly to go to the WWHP, and I of course had the butterbeer, both frozen and non. I thought what they put on top was partially frozen creemee (soft serve) batter.
My sister and I made this for our family, they loved it.
Weasley King said:
im just about to make it cant wait
Chris Mullan said:
It’s only a ice cream soda so.This ice cream soda starts with approximately 1 oz of butterscotch syrup, then several scoops of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass. Rootbeer is added until the glass is filled and the resulting foam rises above the top of the glass. The final touch is a topping of whipped cream
not rootbeer .. cream soda …
Camilla Jakobsen said:
What if you don’t want it to be a slushy?
Camilla Jakobsen said:
I’m excited to try this out!!
Selena Flowers said:
Tried it out… Great recipe!!!! The foam is so good!
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Intoxicology 101 (@Intoxicology101) said:
Great recipe! We’ve been working on an alcoholic version ourselves at my liquor blog, and we tried several online recipes too including yours and linked it. Check it out if you get the chance. – http://intoxicology.net/how-to-make-real-butter-beer-from-harry-potter/
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Just made it and it was AMAZING! It was magic (get it. Magic) I had 3 butterbeer’s when I went to Harry Potter world and this recipe tastes exactly like it. The whipped cream was perfect! That was the best part of the entire drink so I’m happy that I’m able to make it again! Thanks so much for sharing!
I was able to make the frosty version by putting crushed ice in a blender then adding the cream soda and some butterscotch.
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. :)
What brands did u use
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Go to Starbucks. Order a Grande whole milk steamer. Add two pumps caramel, two pumps cinnamon dulce and two pumps toffee nut. It’s amazing and just what I imagined.
how do you make the non frozen
Just Sayin' said:
I just made this recipe. However, I tweaked it just a bit.
I froze the creme soda in small cubes in ice trays. Then put them in the blender. While blending, I added a little unfrozen Cream Soda to help with the process.
But the tweak that made this perfect was…
I added a couple spoonfuls of the Whipped creme mixture to the frozen creme soda.
This helped the frozen mixture stay creamy looking and didn’t separate into 2 parts.
Plus it made it more creamy slushy feeling.
The only thing missing from the final product is the color. But the taste is spot on.
Trust me I know. I drank so much of the real thing last year, I was practically swimming in it.
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Seriously this is the most overhyped, overblown concoction that has ever exhisted. I am currently sitting on my hotels balcony thinking about the day, and thought I’d fill some people into what butterbeer actually is. It’s a $7 cup of cream soda. That’s it. Literally that is it. All these potter-fanatics publicized this crap on the Internet to the max…. but MUCH to my dissapointment it was just cream soda. There is no “secret recipe” or any trick to it….. it’s literally cream soda with whipped cream that’s been flavoured with cinnamon and vanilla. TOTALLY dissapointed.
Not to mention the pumpkin juice is a bottle of glorified Chai tea with pureed pumpkin meat floating around. So stupid.
Brendan Flanagan said:
It tastes exactly like from Universal Studios!!!! Thank you so much!
We use vanilla cream soda which tastes more accurate. I’ll definitely have to try putting that butterscotch sauce with the cream. Sounds good!
Glenn Lee said:
There exists a butterscotch “beer” that tastes close to the soda part. I’m just trying to perfect the foam. It’s called Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer and I have found it at my local grocery store in a 4 pack for $4.77.
I know this is a really old post, but I tried this by freezing he cream soda in ice cube trays and then putting in the blender with some cold cream soda and it was perfect. It makes the process for prepping the frozen version MUCH easier. Hope that helps someone!
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Over $7 per cup now. Will definitely be making my own !
Butterbeer in the Universal parks is dairy free, so while heavy cream in this recipe probably tastes fantastic, it’s not actually in real Butterbeer. The real recipe contains no cow’s milk, cream, ice cream or butter. This recipe looks very tasty and rich, but I’m still searching for the real, non-dairy recipe.
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